Bears narrow search for new coach
The Bears are closing in on their new head coach.
According to multiple NFL sources, general manager Phil Emery has selected at least three finalists for the team's vacant head-coaching position.
As expected, the three known finalists are all offensive oriented. They are Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Those three are expected to visit Halas Hall this week to interview for a second time with Emery.
Chairman George Halas and president and CEO Ted Phillips also are expected to be involved, as the process heads in to its final stages. It was unknown late Monday night if there would be other finalists from the known list of 13 candidates who already have met with the Bears' G.M.
Bruce Arians, Colts offensive coordinator
Before he played a major role in Indianapolis' amazing turnaround this season, Arians helped develop quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.
He was the Steelers' offensive coordinator from 2007-11, and he gets high praise from Roethlisberger, who was more than a little upset to see Arians leave.
Arians also got high marks this season, his first with the Colts, for taking over as interim head coach when Chuck Pagano was forced to take a leave of absence to receive treatment for leukemia.
The Colts finished 11-5 after going 2-14 a year ago. They were 9-3 with Arians in charge.
If Arians, 60, is one of their finalists, the Bears should move quickly. He is scheduled to interview with Philadelphia on Tuesday and San Diego on Wednesday. Arizona also is interested.
The Colts' offense was No. 10 in total yards (362.4) this season, despite rookie quarterback Andrew Luck starting all 16 games.
The attack also relied heavily on rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, rookie tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and rookie running back Vick Ballard.
As the Colts' quarterbacks coach from 1998-2000, Arians was Peyton Manning's first position coach, after which he coordinated the Cleveland Browns' offense from 2001-03.
After three years as the wide receivers coach with the Steelers (2004-06), Arians was promoted to offensive coordinator.
Marc Trestman, Montreal Alouettes head coach
Trestman, who turns 57 Tuesday, was hired as Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach in 2001 and promoted to offensive coordinator in 2002, the year quarterback Rich Gannon was the NFL's MVP.
Gannon has credited Trestman with taking his game to a higher level.
The veteran QB had a career passer rating of 84.7, but in his MVP season he had a personal-best 97.3 with career bests and NFL highs of 4,689 passing yards, 418 completions and 618 attempts.
His 67.6 completion percentage also was a personal best, and he threw 26 TD passes with just 10 interceptions, leading the Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII as a 37-year-old, 15-year veteran.
Trestman's reputation as a quarterback guru goes back more than 25 years.
He started as Cleveland's running backs coach in 1988 and was promoted to offensive coordinator a year later, when Bernie Kosar passed for 3,533 yards and the Browns made it to the AFC title game.
In Trestman's first year as Cardinals offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (1998), Arizona's Jake Plummer threw for 3,737 yards and the Cards made the playoffs for first time since 1982 and won their first postseason game in 51 years.
Critics wonder why, if Trestman is such a genius, he has been out of the NFL since 2004. But it's difficult to find anyone who has worked with him who doesn't believe he's the smartest guy in the room.
Darrell Bevell, Seahawks offensive coordinator
Bevell, 43, will have a second interview Tuesday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
Bevell has been Seattle's offensive coordinator the past two seasons and is credited with developing rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who finished the regular season with a passer rating of 100.0.
The Seahawks were ninth in scoring and 17th in total offense this season after ranking 28th in offense in 2011.
Before he joined head coach Pete Carroll in Seattle, Bevell was the Vikings' offensive coordinator from 2006-10. He was hired in Minnesota by head coach Brad Childress, his former offensive coordinator when he was a quarterback at Northern Arizona and Wisconsin.
Bevell has a long history with Childress, an Aurora native and Marmion Military Academy graduate. Childress recruited Bevell to Northern Arizona and then to Wisconsin, where he became a three-year starter and led the Badgers to their first Rose Bowl appearance in 30 years and the next year to their first Rose Bowl victory in 1994.
But he went undrafted by in 1995 and failed to catch on in the NFL as a free agent. After several years coaching at the college level, Bevell landed in Green Bay. He was the Packers' quarterbacks coach from 2003-05 after spending the previous three seasons as an offensive assistant.
•If there are any additional Bears finalists, they also are expected to be offensive minded.
Two offensive coordinators who have gotten a lot of attention are the Broncos' Mike McCoy and the Texans' Rick Dennison, whose teams were eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend.
The Bears face the same situation with McCoy, 40, as they do with Arians. He's one of the hottest candidates on the market, and five other teams still are looking for a head coach: the Browns, Chargers, Cardinals and Eagles along with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Chargers scooped up McCoy up in Denver on Monday and brought him to San Diego for an interview.
The Eagles and the Cardinals already have talked to him, and the Cards wanted to bring him back for second interview Tuesday.
The Jaguars, who were late to the coaching search, also are believed to be interested in talking to McCoy.
He has been with the Broncos since 2009, the year Brandon Marshall caught 101 passes for 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns and went to the Pro Bowl.
In the past two seasons McCoy tailored offenses around the disparate skill sets of quarterbacks Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning, helping the Broncos to the postseason both years.
Under McCoy's tutelage in 2010, Orton set career highs in every major passing category, including an 87.5 passer rating. He also had 10 games with a passer rating above 90.0; Cutler had just five this year.
Even Tebow, as a rookie, had a passer rating of 82.1, and the following year had a 12-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
The Broncos were No. 4 in offense this season, averaging 397.9 yards per game.
Dennison characterized his two-hour interview late last week with Emery as "brief," which is understandable considering his priority was game planning for the divisional-round playoff game the Texans lost at New England.
By comparison, Trestman's sit-down with Emery lasted eight hours.
Dennison does not call the offensive plays for Houston, as that duty belongs to head coach Gary Kubiak.
But he does have more personal history with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and Marshall than any other candidate, with the exception of Bears special-teams coordinator Dave Toub.
Dennison was the Broncos' offensive coordinator in 2007-08, when Marshall caught 206 passes for 2,590 yards and Cutler was voted to his only Pro Bowl.
Before he was the Broncos' offensive coordinator, Dennison coached their offensive line, another area where the Bears are in dire need of improvement.
Cutler is convinced McCoy eventually will become a head coach in the NFL.
"He's one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL," Cutler said. "Great guy off the field. Very, very smart, intellectual guy. Great candidate, I have a lot of respect for him."
The Texans' offense was No. 7 this season, averaging 372.1 yards per game.